Saturday, August 30, 2014

"45 Seconds" - The time Tom Udall gave rancher Mike Lucero in DC

This is a political ad for Allen Weh, but goes a long way in demonstrating how Udall has treated the ranching community in NM.

New Mexico delays controversial Gila vote

The sinuous Gila River arises from springs and caves in the Black Range Mountains just west of the Continental Divide in New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness. From there, it tumbles down box canyons before twisting through the ranches and farms of southwest New Mexico’s Cliff-Gila Valley and onto the cactus dotted plains near Silver City. Once, the Gila flowed 650 miles all the way to the Colorado River on the California-Arizona border, but today, the waters disappear in the desert outside Phoenix. As New Mexico’s last major dam-free river, the Gila is an anomaly in an arid region where states fight to control every last bit of water. But a decision is near that could alter the river’s flow forever. New Mexico’s nine-member Interstate Stream Commission is considering three proposals to divert up to 14,000 acre-feet of water from the Gila —about 4.5 billion gallons — for cities, farms, and people in the four counties of southwestern New Mexico. The commission announced on Tuesday that it’s postponing its final vote until later this fall. The diversion proposals are among 15 — including municipal water conservation and irrigation ditch improvements — that the commission is weighing before a December 31 deadline, when it must choose whether or not to take advantage of water it’s entitled to under the 2004 Arizona Water Settlements Act. The law reserves $90 million in federal funds to help improve the water supply in the southwestern part of the state, either through conservation programs, or through building a diversion. But the latter comes with an additional $46 million subsidy. The commission has spent millions analyzing the technical feasibility, economic costs, and environmental impacts of the various proposals as well as on studies of the Gila itself — from its hydrology and riparian ecosystems, to how climate change will impact future flows. But with many inquiries still in progress, key details surrounding the diversion proposals remain murky. The basic idea, however, is that they would draw water only during major flood events like those that accompany the late summer monsoons — when the river flows at 30,000 cubic feet per second, unleashing a half-mile wide torrent filled with trees and boulders. Because of the volume, the commission maintains that the diversions would have a minimal impact on the Gila...more

Zozobra draws more than 30,000 to Fort Marcy park

Though he wore no customary skirt or bow tie, Will Shuster's Zozobra burned late Friday night for the 90th time in Fort Marcy Ballpark as he always has — in front of a cheering, jeering crowd. Police say this one exceeded 30,000 people. And the burn went off smoothly, despite complaints earlier in the week about changes in Zozobra's appearance, the event's separation from Fiesta de Santa Fe and worries about potential violence that could arise because of overcrowding. But of the dozens of people interviewed during the event, no one complained about the new look of the 50-foot marionette, few cared about the separation from Fiesta, and the Santa Fe Police Department reported no major incidents or arrests. Ray Sandoval, director of the event for the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe, said about 10,000 advance tickets were sold across the nation. It’s unclear how many were sold at the gates Friday night, but this year’s burning did appear larger than the 2013 event, which drew 31,000 spectators. A man dressed as a city attorney from the 1920s stepped in front of Old Man Gloom and read the charges levied against him, concluding with a triumphant shout: “I hereby sentence you to death by fire!” Gloomies — children dressed in sheets — swung their arms and paraded in front of Zozobra. People carrying torches lit large, dry bundles of sticks, and finally, the fire dancer who traditionally ignites Old Man Gloom began a winding dance. Zozobra let loose his guttural moans and the crowd began its mantra: “Burn him. Burn him.” When Zozobra finally exploded into flames, his groans grew increasingly frantic then stopped altogether. As the fire consumed him, he finally collapsed into a pile of wood, nails and ash, and the crowd rejoiced with savage cries at his fiery demise at about 9:30 p.m. The ceremony ended with a fireworks display over the Fort Marcy park...more

Border Patrol agent fires at armed militia member

A Border Patrol agent pursuing a group of immigrants in a wooded area near the Texas-Mexico border on Friday fired several shots at an armed man who later identified himself as a militia member. Border Patrol spokesman Omar Zamora said agents had been chasing a group of immigrants east of Brownsville Friday afternoon when an agent saw a man holding a gun near the Rio Grande. The agent fired four shots, but did not hit the man. The man then dropped his gun and identified himself as a member of a militia. Zamora said no other details were immediately available. Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio, whose agency is involved in the investigation, said the incident occurred on private property and it appeared the man had permission to be there. He was not arrested, Lucio said. The man, whose name has not been released, was wearing camouflage and carrying a long arm that was either a rifle or shotgun, Lucio said. The agent had lost the group of immigrants when he turned around and saw the man holding the weapon. An unknown number of militia members have come to the Texas border following a surge in illegal immigration this summer...more

Immigrant Detention Center (Artesia) Not Approved By State For Childcare

As Immigration lawyers prepare to battle the federal government over possible due process violations against immigrant women and children detained in Artesia, records obtained by KUNM raise another legal question about the facility—whether the detention center is in compliance with state child welfare laws. Protesters from across New Mexico lined the streets near the immigrant detention center in Artesia last week decrying what they said were substandard living conditions and due process violations at the former border patrol training center. Hundreds have been deported from Artesia since the facility was re-purposed as a detention center to accommodate the flood of Central American women and children arrested at the border after fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries. These kinds of problems—lack of medical care and improper nutrition—would be illegal in a state-licensed childcare facility. And lawyers working in Artesia say they’re illegal in the immigrant detention center too, if they’re happening. That’s because of a law that requires immigrant detention centers that hold minors to either move children into state licensed childcare facilities within 72 hours of arrest or to have the state license the detention center itself as a childcare facility...more

Friday, August 29, 2014

Nev. ranchers plan coast-to-coast horseback ride to protest 'tyranny'

Phil Taylor, E&E reporter

When a Nevada county commissioner in May led a horseback ride more than 300 miles across northern Nevada to protest the Bureau of Land Management's grazing closures on public lands, it got the agency's attention.

The "Grass March" from Elko to Carson City -- modeled after Gandhi's Salt March to protest British colonialism -- garnered national headlines and spurred BLM to cut a deal allowing ranchers to turn their cattle back out onto the land, said Elko County Commissioner Grant Gerber, who led the ride.

But the grazing deal imploded last month after BLM found cows had eaten too much grass and the agency ordered the closure of about 50,000 acres of the Argenta allotment, a move that affected six extended ranching families. Drought, BLM argues, threatens the long-term health of the range, as well as the greater sage grouse, which uses the lands to mate, raise young and hide from predators.

The ranchers disagreed and have challenged the decision in an Interior Department administrative court.

They're also seeking a win in the court of public opinion.

Gerber, 72, is planning a coast-to-coast horseback ride next month, dubbed the "Cowboy Express," to protest land-use restrictions imposed by BLM's Battle Mountain, Nev., District Manager Doug Furtado.
"The theme of it is 'regulation without representation is tyranny,'" said Gerber, an attorney and fourth-generation Nevadan whose family ranched the area beginning in the 1800s. "We have no local control on any federal land issue. It's tyranny for one man to be able to dominate a whole region."

The ride will begin Sept. 26 at Point Reyes National Seashore and will continue roughly 20 days to Washington, D.C., and eventually to the Atlantic Ocean, Gerber said. Organizers say they already have about 10 riders. They'll take turns riding, with a motor home and pickups with horse trailers following behind.

Gerber and local ranchers say Furtado, at the behest of environmentalists, is bent on removing livestock from the Battle Mountain District, a claim BLM emphatically denies. The ride will stop in Carson City on Sept. 29 to pick up petitions calling for Furtado's removal and carry them to Washington.

While ranching disputes are not uncommon in Nevada, a state with a heavy anti-federal sentiment, BLM is watching the Argenta situation closely, as it comes months after the agency's nearly violent run-in with rancher Cliven Bundy.

But organizers say the ride represents more than the plight of Nevada ranchers. Its beginning location at Point Reyes is symbolic. That's where the National Park Service recently declined to renew a permit for the Drakes Bay Oyster Co., in favor of promoting wilderness. Riders will carry petitions raising grievances over endangered species, water, wildfire, wetlands, wilderness and "other mismanagement failures" of the federal government, according to the ride’s website.

Eddyann Filippini, who is one of the three permittees asked to remove livestock from the Argenta allotment, said she was previously ordered to remove 900 cows from two separate allotments due to drought. "Everyone's getting a ding," she said.

Filippini said she plans to ride the entire route beginning from Carson City.
Gerber said he scheduled the ride in late September so it would be cool for the horses but not too late in the year that riders would encounter snow. It's also timed to coincide with a new moon phase, he said, which will allow some overnight rides.

 It's unclear what they'll do when, and if, they reach Washington. Gerber said he plans to ride "up the steps and into the halls," but he did not elucidate.

Editorial - Hetch Hetchy lawsuit tests environmental tactics

The Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy & Reliability, a Fresno-based nonprofit friendly to ag interests, has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking an injunction against further diversions from California’s Tuolumne River to the Hetch Hetchy Project until the National Park Service complies with provisions of environmental law. The project is operated by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, but is regulated by the National Park Service. The Delta is ground zero for all things water in drought-plagued California. As the plaintiffs contend, officials have cut irrigation water deliveries to the federal Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project to maintain flows to the Delta to protect the endangered Delta smelt and other species. But flows to the Hetch Hetchy Project have never been curtailed to maintain the volume in the Delta. Plaintiffs contend the National Park Service each year approves instream flows and other Hetch Hetchy Project operations without consulting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as to their impact on Tuolumne River habitat and endangered species. Such consultations are required, according to the lawsuit, by the Endangered Species Act. Critics are quick to call the Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy & Reliability a “shadowy” front group for anti-environmental interests. We concede that the plaintiff’s brand of environmentalism is not of the same flavor as the “mainstream” environmental groups that normally bring these actions. The more relevant point is whether the lawsuit has merit. We’ve covered enough lawsuits over the Endangered Species Act to see that the plaintiffs in this case have followed the environmentalists’ playbook to the letter. They have found an instance where the federal government has failed to fulfill the requirements of the act, and are suing to enforce upon the Hetch Hetchy Project the same law that has led to severe cuts in irrigation water in the valley. The difference in this case is that the end users of the water in question are the politically connected and ever-so environmentally conscious residents of San Francisco, not farmers and ranchers...more

Pro-wolf groups pressure Gov. Inslee to curb wolf control

Environmental groups on Thursday asked Gov. Jay Inslee to push for the creation of strict rules limiting when wolves can be killed in response to livestock depredations. Their petition sought to limit when the state Department of Fish and Wildlife can kill wolves. It would also require ranchers to use nonlethal measures to protect their livestock. Rules similar to those requested by the petition are in place in Oregon. The groups made the request as the state was in the process this week of trying to kill four wolves in the Huckleberry Pack in an effort to protect a herd of sheep. One wolf has been killed so far...more

Drought lessons from a sheep rancher

While a severe drought continues to devastate California agriculture, one sheep rancher in Oroville has found a centuries-old solution at the bottom of his wood stove - and researchers at UC Davis are paying attention. After dumping ash from a weekend cookout in his backyard, Mel Thompson noticed the grass grew a little better. On the advice of Glenn Nader, a UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor based in Yuba City, Thompson took the initiative to research wood ash on his own, going as far as to establish a connection with an Oroville-based energy plant 20 minutes away, which was paying millions to deliver wood ash to the landfill. Today, the difference in growth from that wood ash can be seen in two adjoining pastures on Thompson’s foothill ranch. One layered in ash three years ago has chest-high grass despite the drought, while the untreated pasture has considerably shorter ground cover. While the benefits of supplementing crops with ash have long been known, the UC Davis researchers were interested in specifically how it was altering the soil composition to promote plant growth and how it could help other ranchers in this Northern California region. “It has improved our feed production significantly,” says Thompson. “With that, in conjunction with fencing and the rotational grazing, we seem to be doing OK through this drought period.”...more

Oregon spotted frog will be protected

Twenty-three years after it was first proposed for protection by the Endangered Species Act, the Oregon spotted frog is being listed as a threatened species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to publish its decision today in the Federal Register. It takes effect 30 days later. The frog was first proposed for Endangered Species Act protection in 1991. Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity said it is one of the many species that became mired in a backlog caused by political opposition to species protection and a lack of funding, until a settlement with the Obama administration put it on a timetable for consideration for listing. The frog measures about 2 to 4 inches long, and it is marked by dark spots. The males make a call like a distant woodpecker tapping on a tree. Habitat for the frog has been lost to urban and agricultural development, livestock grazing, the removal of beavers and the encroachment of non-native grasses, the agency said. Non-native fish and bullfrogs have eaten them. A proposal for protecting critical habitat is not expected until the fall, so it is hard to gauge how much conflict with future development and grazing the listing might create, Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Ann Froschauer said in an email. On the Fremont-Winema National Forest in southern Oregon, a rancher has been told to remove his cattle from a grazing allotment because his stock were straying behind fencing meant to protect frog habitat...more

Ranchers to tell of their troubles with the feds

Nevada ranchers Cliven Bundy and Ramona Hage-Morrison will be on the Churchill County Fairgrounds stage on Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. to tell of their battles to save their family heritage, property rights and to protect rangeland grazing. Entrance is free, but donations will be accepted. They will also talk about fighting for state sovereignty and what needs be done about unlawful Federal law enforcement activities. Bundy’s 25-year fight against the Bureau of Land Management and the Park Service came to a head in April when about 200 armed agents and snipers surrounded his ranch to take his cattle. Hage-Morrison’s was deeply involved in her family’s 35-year struggle to keep their ranching operation alive in the Tonopah area. The ongoing court battle included actions in two federal courts, 11 weeks of trial and nine published court decisions. Finally, a federal judge ruled that agencies of the U.S Department of the Interior and U.S. Forest Service were conducting a continuing criminal conspiracy against the Hages. The persistent efforts of Federal agencies to restrict ranching in the western states through the use of environmental protection mandates, endangered species laws and arbitrarily classifying regions as wilderness areas have cut cattle ranching in Nevada by 50 percent in the past 40 years...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1281

Faron Young - Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young, another "Country Classic", was recorded in Nashville on January 26, 1955 and released as Capitol F-3056.

Brewer Releases 99-Pack of Beer

We all know the saying "Everything is BIG in Texas." But for beer lovers everywhere, this is even cooler than big hats, belt buckles, and barbecue. Actually, this would be ideal with a lot of freshly charred barbecue. Austin Beerworks has just unveiled a new over-the-top way to get its beer into your gut with a limited-edition 99-pack of brewski. The big box of brew will set you back $99 (or a buck a can), which is pretty good for a can of this Texas good stuff. But don't expect it to fit in your compact car with ease. The packaging is insanely exaggerated at seven feet long. The brewery released the gigantic box as part of a social media campaign for its Peacemaker Anytime Ale. The 99-pack is only available in Austin, and only for a limited time and in limited quantities. By state law, the brewery is not allowed to ship out of state, so you might have to make the drive...more

'1984' in 2014? Fed Gov't Funds 'Truthy' Database to Monitor Hate Speech, Suspicious Memes

The federal government is spending close to $1 million of your money on an online tracking program that will supposedly search for so-called “hate speech” or “misinformation” on Twitter. On Fox and Friends, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. brought us more details on the “Truthy” database, which intends to monitor suspicious Internet memes as well as false or misleading ideas spreading around social media. Johnson Jr. laid out the plans for the project according to the grant abstract from the National Science Foundation, which will finance the research by Indiana University The word "truthy" calls to mind Stephen Colbert, so one might at first think this is a harmless experiment, Johnson noted. But they've actually come up with a whole algorithm to show how they plan to locate so-called hateful, subversive and misleading "propaganda." The Indiana professor who is leading the project, Filippo Menczer, had previously identified a list of hashtags that he believed fell under the categories of "far right" and "polarizing." Among those that he listed were #foxnews, #constitution and #israel...more

Border chaos: 375,000 pending immigration cases, Obama lawyers AWOL

Two top federal judges Wednesday said the nation’s immigration courts are in chaos, with the backlog of cases at an historic high of 375,000 for just 227 judges, leading to a minimum three-year delay in hearings for illegal immigrants. In Washington to take advantage of the current crisis to demand a new court system, the judges accused the Justice Department of treating their courts like Cinderella’s abusive family by starving them of money and support and blamed the insufficient Justice funding for letting illegals “linger” in the country. “Immigration courts are the forgotten stepchild,” said Immigration Judge Dana Leigh Marks of San Francisco. She was speaking on behalf of the National Association of Immigration Judges, which she is president of. Fellow Judge Denise Noonan Slavin, the vice president of the judge’s union, said that the courts have the “status of Cinderella,” having to scrounge for supplies, support and money. She said that the lack of money forces judges to delay cases and that is “allowing those who are not entitled to be here, linger.” During their appearance at a National Press Club event, they also said that the defense lawyers President Obama promised in June have not shown up. Obama pledged $2 million to Americorps, which was to supply the legal aid. Asked if she had seen any yet, Marks said, “We have not.” Slavin, of Miami, said, “We haven’t seen an impact.” While the judges said they are feeling pressure to speed up processing of the swarms of unaccompanied children crossing the border in the latest crisis, the caseload of about 1,500 per judge is bogging the system down. Marks said that it can take 15 months before the first hearing for an illegal is held, and then the final court session won’t take place for three to four years...more

Pleasant Valley War

...Yet the Pleasant Valley War history is shrouded in mystery — how did this family feud start? Was it really sheep herders against cattlemen? Or was it simply greed?  The war divided up the loyalty of ranchers that had homesteads from Tonto Basin, to Payson, up through Christopher Creek, along the Rim through Pleasant Valley and out to Holbrook — the Tonto Basin. Ironically enough, Tom Graham originally moved to Pleasant Valley at the invitation of Ed Tewksbury. The two families started off as friends and allies, until John Stinson decided to run his 1,000 head of cattle in Pleasant Valley. Stinson had been paid in cattle for some property and other than that, really wasn’t a rancher. So he left his place to his overseer, John Gilliland. “He’d (Stinson) probably seen the place from the Rim where he used to ride,” said Murdock. Well, the little ranchers resented the appearance of the big ranchers, said Murdock, so the Grahams and Tewksburys joined forces to rustle Stinson’s cattle. “It was called throwing a long rope,” said Murdock. Stinson soon figured out he was losing cattle, while the Graham and Tewksbury herds increased. But then the Tewksburys decided to see if they could form a partnership with Stinson, but he rebuffed their efforts, according to Don Diedera’s “A Little War of Our Own.” Stinson reportedly could not get past the fact the Tewksburys were half Native American. In her book, “Women of the Pleasant Valley War,” Jane Peace Pyle suggested that race had a lot to do with why the two families broke up. “The Tewksburys were half Hupa Indian from the Eel River Valley of Northern California. Their skin was a shade darker, especially Ed Tewksbury’s ... By 1886, anyone entering the valley was told he had to join forces with the Grahams against the damn blacks, or injuns (the Graham-Hashknife faction name for the Tewksburys) or leave the country.” Pyle said a lot of folks in Rim Country had a bit of Cherokee or other tribes in their blood, so they threw in with the Tewksburys. At some point, Stinson’s manager John Gilliland ended up in a confrontation with the Tewksburys, which ended in an exchange of shots that wounded Gilliland’s young nephew. A court case ensued in Prescott. Even then, the Grahams supported the Tewksburys. But the alliance was doomed — thanks to Stinson’s intervention. Murdock said Stinson soon approached the Grahams to offer a contract with the brothers to collect information to put the Tewksburys away for cattle rustling. The Grahams promptly filed the contract in the territory court in Prescott. The Grahams also filed for ownership of a brand they had until then shared with the Tewksburys — effectively stealing most of their one-time allies’ cattle...more

Kenneth Eng Memoir – Ranching In New Mexico & California

The ranch I bought in New Mexico was approximately 70,000 acres located in Sierra County next to the Gila National Forest. It bordered two small towns—one was Winston with a population of about 40; the other was Chloride, which was an old silver mining ghost town with a population of about 25. As the crow flies, it was about 170 miles southwest of Albuquerque or 170 northwest of El Paso and about 40 miles west of Truth or Consequences (T or C).

As you may know, T or C got its name from the TV show by that name which was hosted by Ralph Edwards. Ralph Edwards offered to do a show in any city in the U.S. that would change their name to Truth or Consequences. They did and he did. In fact, he continued to visit the area every year for another 40 years until his death.

The forest lease was estimated at 36,000 acres, although no one was certain. As an indication of how rough it was, the cow permit was for 243 head (4 cows/section). After the lions and bears got their share of the calves, they could have given it to me, and I would probably have lost money on the cows.

The main industry in the area was ranching and hunting elk, mule deer, lions and bears. At one time, there was a pretty fair timber industry in the area, but the environmentalists took care of that. Additionally, there were good silver deposits and some copper. The rest was ranching, which was a combination of cows and yearlings.

Sterling and Judi Carter, who ranched nearby and had a guide service, managed my ranch for the first couple of years. I learned a lot from them but, like most newcomers, I also had to learn from my own mistakes.

I wanted to run cows and took a chance buying a herd of young Beefmaster cows from South Mississippi. Had they been Beefmaster cows from New Mexico, I’d have been okay, but these cows were big and fleshy and probably averaged 1,300 lbs. My ranch couldn’t support a cow that large. They were bred when I bought them and weaned good heavy calves. Unfortunately, that is the end of the good news because the next pregnancy check, about 40% of them were “open” (not bred). That trend continued until I pretty much liquidated my big Beefmasters and replaced them with smaller, uglier desert cows.

Our Gila Forest lease was rough and I had no desire to stock it with cows at the rate of four per acre. The best deal we had was the first two years when Sterling helped me convince the Forest Ranger that on a 243-cow permit, we should be able to increase the numbers if we put out stocker cattle and we only left them out four months of the year.

Doing that, we were able to run 1,500 head, and it worked well until that ranger retired. They then informed me that I had a cow permit, and if I wanted to run yearlings, I needed a new permit that would take at least 2-3 years to obtain. It had quit raining in the area, and I took three continuous years of non-use on the forest permit and then sold it. Now you know why I’ve always said that other than getting together with Caroline, the two happiest days of my life were when I sold my last airplane and when I sold my forest permit.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Author D.H. Lawrence's ranch near Taos reopens to visitors

British author D.H. Lawrence described his connection to New Mexico as "the greatest experience I ever had from the outside world. It certainly changed me forever." The rustic ranch northwest of Taos where he spent a brief part of his life during the 1920s recently reopened to visitors. How did the author of "Women in Love" and "Lady Chatterley's Lover" wind up in the Land of Enchantment? He had been invited by socialite Mabel Dodge Luhan, a woman who counted Georgia O'Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz and Ansel Adams among her circle. It was Luhan who subsequently gave the Lawrences the 160-acre ranch that sits at 8,500 feet in elevation, according to a University of New Mexico ranch history. (It's also known as the Kiowa Ranch, named for the Native Americans who once lived there.) Of three buildings that remain at the site, the couple moved into what's called the Homesteader's Cabin. It was a simple but rundown three-room affair, the history says. Lawrence worked to fix it up with the help of locals. He wrote beneath a large pine tree at the front of the house that O'Keeffe would make famous in her painting aptly called "The Lawrence Tree." Now the University of New Mexico, the D.H. Lawrence Ranch Alliance and the Taos Community Foundation have reopened the site for the first time since 2010. Buildings and features at the ranch have been restored, including a memorial shrine to Lawrence, who died in 1930...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1280

"Country Classics" Week brings Carl Smith performing Hey Joe.  The tune was recorded in Nashville on May 19, 1953 and released on the Columbia record label.

Blueprint for water ‘control’? Pol says EPA made secret maps for new regulatory push

A top House Republican is charging that the Environmental Protection Agency secretly drafted highly detailed maps of U.S. waterways to set the stage for a controversial plan to expand regulatory power over streams and wetlands, a claim the EPA strongly denies. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, released those maps on Wednesday, while firing off a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy voicing concerns over why they were created in the first place. "These maps show the EPA's plan: to control a huge amount of private property across the country. Given the astonishing picture they paint, I understand the EPA's desire to minimize the importance of these maps," he wrote, in the letter obtained by But an EPA spokeswoman said the maps, from the U.S. Geological Survey and Fish and Wildlife Service, do not depict which waters are subject to EPA control. "Let us be very clear -- these maps have nothing to do with EPA's proposed rule or any other regulatory purpose," Liz Purchia said, noting they were initially created years ago and subsequently updated. At issue is a proposal that Smith and fellow Republicans, as well as farmers and other groups, say could endanger private property rights by giving the EPA a say over temporary waterways like seasonal streams, under the Clean Water Act. That the agency had highly detailed maps drawn up has raised suspicion about their purpose. "While the Agency marches forward with a rule that could fundamentally re-define Americans' private property rights, the EPA kept these maps hidden," Smith wrote in his letter. "Serious questions remain regarding the EPA's underlying motivations for creating such highly detailed maps."  He added: "The EPA's job is to regulate. The maps must have been created with this purpose in mind." The high-resolution maps of each state depict a dense and veiny web of intertwining waterways. They're color-coded to distinguish everything from canals and ditches to reservoirs to marshes to various types of streams. The maps show permanent streams, but also those that contain water for only part of the year...more

Judge denies TRO to stop releases for salmon

A federal judge today denied a request by agricultural water providers in California's Central Valley to stop the newly approved releases of extra water intended to help salmon in the Klamath Basin survive the drought. "The Court concludes that, even though Plaintiffs are likely to (and in all likelihood soon will) succeed on the merits of at least one of their claims against Reclamation in connection with the 2013 FARs (Flow Augmentation releases), the balance of the harms does not warrant an injunction at this time," Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill wrote. "Even if the Court were prepared immediately to issue a final ruling on the merits in favor of Plaintiffs, an injunction would not be automatic." A long-standing lawsuit over last year's releases in the Trinity to help salmon is nearing a ruling. O'Neill wrote that he expected to issue a ruling on the injunction request by Thursday. The petition for a temporary injunction against this month's releases was filed late Monday in U.S. District Court in Fresno by Westlands Water District and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, which supply farmers...more

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Obama Pursuing Climate Accord in Lieu of Treaty

The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress. In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate. To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path. “If you want a deal that includes all the major emitters, including the U.S., you cannot realistically pursue a legally binding treaty at this time,” said Paul Bledsoe, a top climate change official in the Clinton administration who works closely with the Obama White House on international climate change policy. Lawmakers in both parties on Capitol Hill say there is no chance that the currently gridlocked Senate will ratify a climate change treaty in the near future, especially in a political environment where many Republican lawmakers remain skeptical of the established science of human-caused global warming. “There’s a strong understanding of the difficulties of the U.S. situation, and a willingness to work with the U.S. to get out of this impasse,” said Laurence Tubiana, the French ambassador for climate change to the United Nations. “There is an implicit understanding that this not require ratification by the Senate.” American negotiators are instead homing in on a hybrid agreement — a proposal to blend legally binding conditions from an existing 1992 treaty with new voluntary pledges. The mix would create a deal that would update the treaty, and thus, negotiators say, not require a new vote of ratification. Countries would be legally required to enact domestic climate change policies — but would voluntarily pledge to specific levels of emissions cuts and to channel money to poor countries to help them adapt to climate change. Countries might then be legally obligated to report their progress toward meeting those pledges at meetings held to identify those nations that did not meet their cuts...more

Climate plan spooks Dems

President Obama’s election-year plan to win a new international climate change accord is making vulnerable Democrats nervous. The administration is in talks at the United Nations about a deal that would seek to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by “naming and shaming” governments that fail to take significant action. The State Department on Wednesday denied a report in The New York Times that the plan is to come up with a treaty that would not require Senate confirmation, but that appeared to provide cold comfort to Democrats worried the issue will revive GOP cries about an imperial Obama presidency. One Democratic strategist said the proposal would put swing-state candidates who are critical to the party keeping its Senate majority “in front of the firing squad.” “You're ... making it more difficult for them to win and certainty putting them in a position to lose,” the strategist said. Several vulnerable Senate Democrats kept mum on the issue. Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Udall (Colo.), along with a handful of House Democrats, either declined to comment or didn’t respond to interview requests. Senate Energy Committee Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (La.) cautiously signaled support for the oil and gas industry that is important to her state, without commenting on the plan to sidestep the Senate. “It is important that all nations do what they can to reduce carbon in the atmosphere,” she said. “But the president should not take any action that undermines the American energy revolution currently underway that is creating thousands of high-paying jobs for middle class families in Louisiana and across the country.” spokesman for Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), who heads a House climate task force, said it was premature to comment on a plan with so few details...more

Water districts ask judge to stop Klamath Basin water releases meant to help salmon

Agricultural water providers in the Central Valley of California asked a federal judge to stop releases of extra water intended to help salmon in the Klamath Basin survive the drought. The petition for a temporary injunction was filed late Monday in U.S. District Court in Fresno by Westlands Water District and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, which supply farmers. At issue is water held in a reservoir on the Trinity River, which has been divided between the Trinity and Sacramento river basins for more than 50 years. To prevent a repeat of a 2002 fish kill that left tens of thousands of Klamath River salmon dead, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation started increasing flows into the Trinity River on Saturday. The flows are intended to prevent the spread of disease and get adult salmon to start moving upstream. The fish are a source of commercial and subsistence fisheries by Klamath Basin tribes and sport fishing by the public. The water districts argued that the releases for salmon are not authorized by laws governing the apportionment of Trinity River water, and that releasing extra water for salmon will cause harm to the districts...more

Groups urge tighter rules for sage grouse

Several conservation organizations contend that a recently completed plan for sage grouse management in Wyoming does not bode well for similar plans throughout the West. Because of a court-ordered settlement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has until September 2015 to decide whether to add greater sage grouse to the endangered species list. Doing so could result in tight restrictions being placed on development and livestock grazing on sage grouse habitat throughout the West. The pending deadline has prompted the BLM and U.S. Forest Service to update land-use plans to better conserve sage grouse and preclude listing the species. The BLM has divided sage grouse range into 15 planning areas across 11 Western states. Final resource management plans for each area are expected to be released over the next few months. One of those is a plan for Idaho and southwestern Montana. A draft plan was released in November and a final plan is scheduled for release this fall. The first finalized plan to include new measures to address sage-grouse protection was for west-central Wyoming, and was released by the BLM’s Lander Field Office on June 26. “The Lander plan utterly fails to do what’s needed to stem the decline of sage grouse in this part of Wyoming, making it more likely that these birds will require the protection of the Endangered Species Act,” said Travis Bruner, executive director of Western Watersheds Project. The Hailey-based organization was one of six conservation groups that on Aug. 18 submitted to the federal Interior and Agriculture departments a 32-point checklist of measures they consider necessary to be undertaken on federal land to protect sage grouse. The checklist has specific direction related to habitat identification, vegetation management, livestock grazing and mineral and gas development...more

 So what are they recommending for livestock grazing?  Is it reasonable?  Take a look and decide:

The groups proposed that grazing regulations require at least 7 inches average grass height in nesting and brood-rearing habitat, leave a four-mile buffer around breeding leks, prohibit grazing during breeding and nesting, and seasonally remove livestock from late brood-rearing habitat to allow regrowth of native grasses. The checklist states that limited winter grazing may be appropriate as long as it leaves enough residual grass height prior to the next breeding season.

This explains why there is no longer a need for "No More Moo by '92" or "Cattle Free by '93".  They don't need long as they have the Endangered Species Act, liberal judges and a Senate which won't even consider minor administrative changes to the Act.

Swapper in Chief - State land commissioner gets little publicity, lots of power

The last time candidates jockeyed to take over the office of New Mexico commissioner of public lands, a contentious swap overwhelmed a crowded race for the usually quiet public job. The down-ballot race is heating up for the November general election, and the topic lingers...Though a relatively unknown public office, the land commissioner holds a great deal of unchecked power. The office is charged with the balancing act of managing and generating revenue from 9 million acres of surface and 13 million acres of subsurface state trust land across New Mexico. Land commissioners do this all without having to answer to the state Legislature or governor...Dunn, who is trying to unseat Powell before he takes on what would be his fourth four-year term, argues that Powell hasn’t leveraged the office’s full potential to generate revenue and jobs for the state. Dunn strongly opposes the recent designation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, which is poised to turn just under 80,000 acres of state trust land in southern New Mexico over to the federal Bureau of Land Management. Powell favors the federal designation, adding that the land has “intrinsic biological value” and will be exchanged for land better suited for development. Dunn, on the other hand, criticizes the designation as a land grab that will kill revenue-generating uses for that area, including what he characterizes as putting 40 current grazing leases of state trust land in jeopardy. “The land commissioner is tasked with not creating state parks but creating state revenue,” Dunn says. But Powell maintains that grazing will still continue when the land gets transferred to BLM. He adds that his office is negotiating a swap as part of the designation to acquire BLM land west of Las Cruces that’s primed to be used for renewable energy projects. He expects a swap process to begin at the start of next year. Powell’s current term also benefited enormously from a recent boom in the oil and gas industry, which makes up 97.5 percent of the royalties that go to the Permanent Fund. This, plus Powell’s incumbency status and name recognition, give him an advantage going into November. But Dunn, the son of former Democratic state Sen. Aubrey Dunn Sr., is no stranger to politics. He ran both for US Congress in the state’s second district in 2008 and state senator against Democrat Phil Griego in 2012, but lost both efforts. So far, he’s outraised his opponent by collecting $175,000 in donations as of late June compared to Powell’s $66,000...more

Ranchers appeal grazing ban, invite judge to tour grass

Lander County ranchers filed an appeal Monday regarding grazing closures on nine of 20 areas on the Argenta Allotment. In a review done by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Hearings and Appeals, Administrative Law Judge James Heffernan ruled Aug. 18 that the Bureau of Land Management had the authority to issue closures due to drought. Representing affected ranching families, attorney Alan Schroeder filed an appeal, which included a petition for stay on the ruling and a motion inviting the judge to visit the allotment. Due to severe drought, the Bureau of Land Management told permittees that if triggers in specific monitoring spots were met, livestock had to be removed. In late July, the BLM informed permittees closures were necessary in nine areas. Drought triggers, Schroeder argued, were never included as terms of the grazing permits, and monitored locations were too small in size to be representative of the whole. “BLM’s claims are driven by utilization ‘triggers’ in certain, small, riparian zones within some of the nine Use Areas, making up less than 6-acres of the approximate 92,000 acres at issue within the nine Use Areas,” the appeal states...more

U.S. Government releases predators against its own people

by Marita Noon

Many times the sound of howling and yelping coyotes awake me from a sound and cozy slumber. I sit bolt upright in my bed as my sleep-filled brain tries to calculate where my critters are and whether or not they are safe. The dogs on the floor beside me, the cat on the foot of the bed, I roll over and go back to sleep.

In the years that I’ve lived in the mountains outside Albuquerque, I’ve lost three cats and three ducks to coyotes. I know they are natural predators and if my pets are outside, there is a chance they’ll fall prey. I hear the coyotes, but I hardly see them. They don’t generally come close to humans. They are after the squirrels and rabbits—and an occasional cat or duck.

But that could all change due to a new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) plan to expand the area for the Mexican grey wolf reintroduction. The current plan calls for virtually all the southern half of New Mexico to become wolf habitat—but wolf advocates at a hearing about the plan, held in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, on Wednesday, August 13, repeatedly declared that Southern New Mexico wasn’t enough. They want the wolf introduced north of I-40—which would include Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Some called for wolves to be released in the Grand Canyon and the Four Corners area.

Wolves are master predators—and they are enemies of coyotes. Wolves attack bigger prey: deer and elk, horses and cattle—but are known to carry off a dog or cat as well. The wolves that are a part of the reintroduction program are not afraid of people and will come right up to a house if they are hungry.

Supporters of the expanded plan, plead for people to “open their eyes and hearts to wolves, to remove boundaries.” One claimed: “The big bad wolf isn’t so bad after all,” and added, “there’s no proof a wolf has ever harmed a human.”  “Wolves are demonized” and “wolves don’t hurt humans” were reoccurring themes throughout the evening hearing—where 70 people spoke (48 for the expanded plan, 22 against). Not everyone who wanted to be heard was given the opportunity. The hearing was conducted with precision—cutting people off midsentence at the two-minute mark—and ended promptly at 9:00PM.

Most of the 22 against the plan live in the areas already impacted by the current wolf reintroduction—the Gila National Forest on the New Mexico/Arizona border.

One woman told of growing up on her family’s ranch. She remembers being able to play by the stream without fear. But now, with wolves around, it is a different story for her grandchildren. They came to visit one day. They brought their new puppy. As they bounded out of the car, toward the house, two wolves emerged from the creek and snatched the puppy as the shocked children helplessly watched. They are now afraid to go to grandma’s house. They have nightmares.

Another told how she felt when a wolf was spotted less than 35 feet from her children. Her husband was away. She grabbed the children and, along with the dogs, stayed locked in the house—only to see the wolf on the front porch with its nose pressed against the window pane. She has reported on the incident: “Throughout the evening my border collie whimpered at the front door, aggressively trying to get out. Both dogs paced on high alert all night.” The next day wolf tracks were found all around the house—including the children’s play yard. The wolf was euthanized on private property within 150 yards of the house. She concludes her story: “It’s difficult to describe the terror of a predator so fearless and eager to get into my home.”

Others told similar stories. Children, waiting for the school bus, have to be caged to be protected from the wolves. Nine ranches in the current habitat area along the New Mexico/Arizona border, have been sold due to wolf predation—too many cattle are killed and ranchers are forced off the land.

Had I been allowed to speak—and I did sign up, I would have addressed the lunacy of the plan. After huge amounts of effort and resources have been invested to save the sand dune lizard and the lesser prairie chicken in and around the oil patch of southeastern New Mexico, they now want to introduce a master predator that will gobble up the other endangered species? After all, as many proponents pointed out, “wolves don’t have maps.” They don’t stay within the boundaries on the FWS maps, they go where the food is—just ask the families living in the current range.

As I listened to the presenters, I wondered: “Why do they do this?” People and their property need to be protected. Instead, supporters whined that capturing wolves and moving them away from communities “traumatizes” them. What about the harm to humans; the traumatized children? Does human blood need to be shed to consider that they have been harmed?

Perhaps the answer to “why?” came from one wolf supporter who opened with this: “I am from New York. I don’t know anything about ranching or wolves.” And then added: “Ranching will be outdated in 10-15 years. We can’t keep eating meat.”

State Senator Bill Soules, from Las Cruces, supports the new, expanded plan. He said: “I’ve had many people contact me wanting wolves protected. I’ve had no one contact me with the opposing view”—perhaps that is because neither phone number listed on his New Mexico Legislature webpage takes you to a person or voicemail.

Calls to our elected officials do matter. Contact yours and tell him/her that you want people protected, that humans shouldn’t be harmed by an expanded wolf reintroduction territory.

I wrote a short version of my experience at the hearing for the Albuquerque Journal because I wanted people there to be aware of the plan to introduce wolves into close proximity to the Albuquerque area. My op-ed in the local paper generated a vitriolic dialogue on the website—with more than 90 comments at the time of this writing. Many said things like this one, supposedly from a woman in Concord, New Hampshire: “If you don’t like it move to the city it is their home and you moved into it so either deal with it and stop your whining or move back to the city.” Yeah, that will work really well for the ranchers who earn their living and feed America by raising livestock.

This story is about New Mexico, Arizona and the Mexican grey wolf. But similar stories can easily be found in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana where the Canadian grey wolf was reintroduced nearly two decades ago. The wolf population has grown so rapidly that they have been known to aggressively kill livestock and cause millions of dollars of loss to ranching families—with the Idaho record being 176 sheep killed in one night. In Wyoming, the Wolf has been removed from the endangered species list and ranchers can now kill the wolf and protect their herds without fear of punishment from our government. Even the U.S. FWS is removing and euthanizing the wolves that were intentionally introduced into the region. As recently as August 21, 2014, wolves are wreaking havoc, killing sheep just 50 miles outside of Spokane, Washington—where the U.S. FWS has authorized a rancher to kill the wolves and, much to the dismay of environmental groups, state wildlife agents are killing wolves to protect people and property.

Environmental groups have been pushing to bring the wolf back to Colorado through the Rocky Mountain National Park.

While the public hearing regarding the expanded introduction of the Mexican Grey Wolf is over, the U.S. FWS is accepting written comments on the proposed revision to the Nonessential Experimental Population of the Mexican Wolf through September 23. Please add to the discussion—though they don’t make it easy as to be accepted, comments must be substantive, related to the proposed alternatives, or scientifically valid, and something not yet considered.

People shouldn’t lie awake in fear for their families and property because our own government introduces a predator amongst us.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE).

Vitter tells Interior to ‘back off’ on oil rig

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) called on the Obama administration to leave a sunken oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. “The development of marine reefs with significant biodiversity is an unintended benefit of many of the idle rigs remaining in the Gulf of Mexico,” Vitter said. “The Administration should back off and allow it to prosper.” In a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell sent Monday, Vitter said the rig is acting as an artificial reef that has benefited the ecosystem. “Artificial reefs are becoming an indispensable resource for our Gulf fisheries,” Vitter wrote. “While this particular site has yet to obtain official status as an artificial reef site, the ecosystem that it has created and supported around it is already playing an important role in growing and sustaining our Gulf fisheries. Currently, the administration is expected to remove the Ewing Banks 947A structure, despite Louisiana requesting an exemption...more

U.S. court rules for groups defending historic site from coal mining

A U.S. appeals court ruled Tuesday in favor of environmental groups fighting to protect the site of a historic 1920s-era labor battle between miners and companies in West Virginia from being destroyed by modern-day coal mining. The Sierra Club and a coalition of local historical associations sued the government for removing the Blair Mountain Battlefield in southern West Virginia from the National Register of Historic Places in 2009, a move the group said would open up the area to large-scale surface mining. The mountain was the scene of a five-day clash in September 1921 between more than 5,000 West Virginia coal miners and around 3,000 men backed by the coal companies, the largest armed labor conflict in the nation's history. President Warren Harding had to send in federal troops to quell the violence. In a 2-1 ruling, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned a lower court's 2012 ruling throwing out the Sierra Club's claim against the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. The appeals court found the groups had a right to challenge the government's delisting of the site since their members - including descendants of veterans who fought in the battle - would be harmed if it is altered by mining...more

I AM FARMLAND campaign announced

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) is launching a new campaign titled I AM FARMLAND geared to help support the expanded distribution of FARMLAND, a new feature length documentary about the lives of young farmers and ranchers. Funds raised by the I AM FARMLAND effort will be used to bring the film to high school classrooms, college campuses, in addition to communities all across the country.

USFRA invites others in agriculture to help spread the message that FARMLAND accurately depicts life as an American farmer and rancher. I AM FARMLAND is a group of friends of the film working to reach broader audiences and wider distribution.

“Farmers and ranchers owe it to ourselves to help ensure this film is seen by young people in an effort to curb the criticisms and lack of understanding consumers have for food production,” said USFRA board member and Minnesota farmer Gene Stoel. “Consumers are generations removed from agriculture today and they don’t know the people growing and raising our food. This is the first authentic representation of modern agriculture on this scale and the agriculture industry needs to step up and support it in a big way.”

USFRA will use the funds raised in this campaign to continue to heighten the energy of FARMLAND by offering screenings on college campuses, a curriculum-based program for high schools, and screening kits for farmers and ranchers who would like to conduct outreach in their local communities.

“If you have seen the film, you realize that it’s something everyone in America should see,” said Randy Krotz USFRA CEO. “Initial distribution of FARMLAND has been successful but limited. Now that we know the positive impact viewing the film has on non-ag audiences, we owe it to interested consumers to get the film in front of them. We need agriculture’s support to help more people around the country view this amazing film.”

If you would like to contribute to help expand the distribution of the film, please go to


Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1279

Another "Country Classic":  Little Jimmy Dickens - A Sleepin' At The Foot Of The Bed (1949).

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

NMCOG seeking DNA from historic Mexican Wolves


Dear members,

We are looking for individuals who might still possess historic Mexican Wolf hides/skulls from any wolf killed in New Mexico prior to the current re-introduction period.  These wolves might have been killed or found by your grandparents/great grandparents and are perhaps still displayed in your trophy room or gathering dust in a barn somewhere.

NMCOG is attempting to gather DNA from historic Mexican Wolves in order to further scientific research to prove that Mexican Wolves and Gray Wolves are of the same lineage and therefore, should not be classified as two different species within the Endangered Species Act.

As most of you are well aware, the USFWS is currently attempting to expand the range and protections of the Mexican Wolf.  NMCOG is fighting this expansion.  An expansion of this nature will undoubtedly put NM and AZ on the path to becoming the wolf predation mess that is currently being experienced in WY, ID, and MT.  With the USFWS proposing an increase to between 300 and 1000 wolves the ungulate populations of NM simply can not sustain an additional predator pressure of that size.

Please contact the Council if you know of anywhere that we might be able to find the DNA that we are looking for.  Feel free to forward this email to anyone that you know might have historic Mexican Wolf DNA. 

Thanks for your help!

Kerrie C. Romero
Executive Director (
51 Bogan Rd Stanley, NM 87056

Governor calls EPA 'enemy of agriculture'

Gov. Dave Heineman on Monday called the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the “enemy of agriculture” and said the federal agency is the biggest regulatory issue facing Nebraska producers. “The federal government, particularly under the Obama administration, has been overly aggressive with regulation,” Heineman said during a conference call with reporters. “We all support clean air, clean water and appropriate regulations. But it is the EPA that is the enemy of agriculture.” A series of proposals and disagreements in recent years -- from proposed regulation of farm dust to considering a reduction in the amount of ethanol required to be blended into gasoline -- have strained the relationship between producers and the EPA. Farmers and ranchers argue they know how to best care for the land they rely on to survive. Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach, on the same conference call with the governor, summed it up. “Whether it has been the EPA’s past clandestine flights over Nebraska to spy on livestock feeding operations, or their move to try and regulate individual farmer’s properties now through Waters of the U.S., or their foolish move earlier this year to try to change the RFS (Renewable Fuels Standard), the EPA is the biggest regulation problem that Nebraska farmers and ranchers face.”...more

PLF to forest service: stop coveting private water rights

Last Friday Pacific Legal Foundation filed this comment letter with the United States Forest Service, in opposition to a proposed policy that would prevent the owners of private water rights from transferring them under state law from existing uses to other more economical uses. The American West has an interesting history of privately held rights to use water on federal lands. The United States adopted an active policy for settling its new territories through the Homestead Act, which led to private ownership of most land between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains, as well as on the West Coast.  But in the Great Basin and other Western high desert regions (generally the area between the Cascade and Sierra Mountains on the West and the Rockies on the East), there were relatively few takers for homesteads.  This region is generally arid; only those limited areas with adequate surface water supplies were ultimately homesteaded. That doesn’t mean that the rest of the land lay unproductive.  By federal policy, most of the remaining public land in the West remained open for cattle grazing, timber production, and mining.  Section 9 of the Mining Act of 1866 explicitly deferred to state law on the question of whether and how these miners, ranchers, and others established water rights on the public lands they were using.  By the end of the Nineteenth Century, the result was a patchwork, in which the federal government owned most of the land, while private parties owned extensive water rights for stockwatering and mining and milling, as well as for farming in those areas with enough water for irrigation...more

Hired hunter kills wolf in Washington

One wolf has been killed by a hunter hired by Washington, a state where the animals have been regaining a foothold in recent years after being hunted to extinction in the early 1900s. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife said hunters were back out Monday, targeting three more wolves in the Huckleberry Pack to protect sheep in rural southern Stevens County. Wolves from the Huckleberry Pack this month have killed 22 sheep and injured three more, despite preventive measures, the agency said. Environmental groups oppose the hunt...more

Guard dogs continue to frighten hikers on high mountain trails

Judy Graham has been hiking in the San Juan Mountains near Silverton for more than three decades. But recently the 68-year-old has added something to the hiking sticks, water bottle, rain jacket and sketching supplies she always takes along — a loaded Glock. Graham is arming herself because she fears the large, white Akbash dogs that guard sheep herds around Silverton and other high-mountain towns, particularly along the popular Colorado and Continental Divide trails. The aggressive dogs have continued to be a controversial backcountry problem in spite of efforts to lessen encounters between the dogs and recreationists. "I have been hiking these mountains for a long time, but I won't go out anymore without a gun," said Graham, a painter who spends a lot of time in the backcountry to catalog scenes for her art. Matt Janowiak, district ranger for the Columbine District of the San Juan National Forest, said he wishes more of those complaints would make it to his office so he can do something about the problem. His office has received only one in the past two years. He said contracts with ranchers who have grazing permits now specify that the herds need to be at least a quarter-mile from the Colorado and Continental Divide trails. If animals are closer, the U.S. Forest Service can take away ranchers' permits. The problems with the Akbash first came to public attention in 2009 when a woman was bitten while riding her bike near Vail...more

Fish Kill Averted - Department of Interior Agrees to Release Water Into Klamath River

After weeks of lobbying by tribes and experts monitoring water levels and temperature in the Klamath River, Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has authorized the release of water from its largest tributary to avert a fish kill. With California suffering from prolonged drought, the Hoopa Valley, Karuk and Yurok tribes have been pressing officials to release water from Trinity River dams to prevent disease from starting and spreading among fish. Conditions, they said, had been dangerously close to those that killed tens of thousands of fish in 2002, compromising fisheries and traditional ways of life for years. On August 22 the Bureau of Reclamation announced it will reverse a June 30 decision not to release water and will instead take water from Trinity Reservoir “to supplement flows in the lower Klamath River to help protect the returning run of adult Chinook salmon,” according to a statement. “We have determined that unprecedented conditions over the past few weeks in the lower Klamath River require us to take emergency measures to help reduce the potential for a large-scale fish die-off,” said Mid-Pacific Regional Director David Murillo in the statement. “This decision was made based on science and after consultation with Tribes, water and power users, federal and state fish regulatory agencies, and others.”...more

Funny how that science changed in just 60 days.  Gov't mgt = Political mgt, not scientific mgt. 

Texas' historic bison herd has more roaming room

The state's historic bison herd just got more room to roam in a West Texas park. About 100 bison descended from the Southern Plains herd now have access to 10,000 acres in Caprock Canyons State Park. Park staff last week opened the acres up to the animals that are members of the Official Texas State Bison Herd. The expansion is a big step in a program that started widening the animals' access starting in 2010. The Texas herd was started in the 1870s with five bison calves captured by Charles Goodnight, one of the most prosperous cattlemen in the American West, with more than 1 million acres of ranch land and 100,000 head of cattle at his peak. His wife urged him to save the bison, also known as buffalos, because hunters were killing them by the hundreds of thousands for their hides and meat and to crush American Indian tribes who depended on the animals for food and clothing. The herd was donated to the state in 1997 and moved to 330 acres of the state park, which was once part of Goodnight's JA Ranch between Lubbock and Amarillo. When the Transcontinental Railroad was built across the United States in the 1800s, the bison - which are believed to have numbered in the tens of millions - were split into what was known as the Northern and the Southern herds...more

Mammoth Skeleton Discovered In North Texas

The skeleton of a mammoth has been discovered in North Texas – and the enormous find is being donated to the Perot Museum in Dallas. The remains of the prehistoric creature were found on a ranch in Ellis County, and researchers say the skeleton is about 85% complete. Navarro College Professor Tom Vance has been in on the dig since the discovery earlier this year. The first pieces uncovered were portions of a tusk and front arm bone, “But we did not have enough (bones) at that time as far as it’s identification,” said Vance. “We eventually found the cranium of the animal, and were able to determine that this was a Mammoth not a Mastadon.” Dr. Ron Tykosky with the Perot Museum says that the skeleton was discovered by accident – when a rancher was digging a hole with a backhoe to sell gravel and sand to the highway department. “This is a Columbian Mammoth, a different species from the Woolly Mammoth that most people think of” says Dr. Tykosky “it’s bigger than Woolly Mammoths and probably less hairy.” The 40,000-year old beast as been named “Ellie May” according to Professor Vance because it was discovered in Ellis County in the month of May...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1278

This will be a "Country Classics" week and we'll play some tunes that have been on Ranch Radio before, but not since we've been on YouTube.  First up will be Eddy Arnold - Anytime.  The tune was recorded in New York City on August 20, 1947 and released in 1948 on the RCA Victor label.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Rep. Stewart seeking to demilitarize federal regulatory agencies

Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, said a police show of force against protests in Ferguson, Missouri, that have been compared to an invading army is boosting interest in his effort to demilitarize federal regulatory agencies. But Stewart told the Deseret News and KSL editorial board Monday that he isn't trying to take advantage of the concerns raised by the local police reaction to demonstrations against the police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old. "I don't feel comfortable taking advantage of that and trying to sell it by saying, 'Well, look what's happening out in Ferguson, therefore, come support my bill.' I think those situations are different enough," he said. Still, the images of a heavily armored vehicle rolling through the small St. Louis suburb while officers outfitted in battle-ready camouflage gear carry automatic weapons is having an impact. "There's no question it's brought much more attention to the bill because of what has happened in the last few weeks in Missouri," the 2nd District congressman said, helping the public to better understand what he's trying to do. In June, Stewart introduced what he's calling the Regulatory Agency Demilitarization Act in response to SWAT-style teams at various federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management. His bill, which he said likely won't go before Congress until early next year, followed the standoff earlier this year between heavily armed BLM agents and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his supporters. "There is just no reason, I don't think, that the Department of Education, the IRS, or the FDA, or, you know, pick a regulatory agency, needs what is essentially a SWAT team," Stewart said...more

Central Nevada Ranchers Fighting BLM Over Grazing Rights

In May the Bureau of Land Management relented and announced it had come to a year-long deal with ranchers on the Argenta allotment on Mount Lewis in the Battle Mountain District to allow grazing. The BLM reneged.

At the end of July the BLM told ranchers using Mount Lewis that “drought triggers” had been met and cattle must be removed in seven days.
“We must remove the cattle from our summer grazing country on the mountain, where there is ample feed and adequate water, to the flat, where there is very little of either,” rancher Pete Tomera told the Elko Daily Free Press.

Bob Schweigert of Intermountain Range Consultants in Winnemucca says ranchers had to sign new grazing agreements with the BLM in May and the BLM is violating terms of those agreements.
The BLM agreed to review key monitoring locations in coordination with permittees in early June, but the scheduled joint monitoring was canceled. Instead days later a rancher came across BLM employees conducting monitoring without any ranchers present. Another monitoring outing was scheduled on short notice while permittees were away from the area, and testing again was done without ranchers present.

 “They lied to us again,” rancher Eddyann Filippini told the Elko newspaper. “(Battle Mountain BLM manager Doug) Furtado can’t be trusted and we don’t trust the data they collect from the range monitoring sites when they don’t allow us to accompany them.”

...The ranchers say delays in getting cattle out on the range and what fencing they were required to do by BLM has cost them half a million dollars.

Reportedly some ranchers chose to defy the latest order to remove their cattle, contending the BLM breached the agreements made with ranchers.

A demonstration similar to one in May, dubbed the “Cowboy Express,” is scheduled in September — in which riders are to carry a petition to Washington, D.C., seeking the local BLM manager’s firing.